Wednesday, July 17, 2019

9 Permits Issued Last Week in Utica as Rig Count Bounces Back to 18

New permits issued last week: 9 (Previous week: 3)  +6
Total horizontal permits issued: 3126 (Previous week: 3120 +6
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2647 (Previous week: 2639)  +8
Total horizontal wells producing: 2226 (Previous week: 2225)  +1
Utica rig count: 18 (Previous week: 17)  +1

Bill Watson Tabbed to Helm Utica Shale Academy

From the Weirton Daily Times:
The Utica Shale Academy will have a new leader this fall after Bill Watson was named director of the community school.

Watson, a resident of Wellsville, will helm the program at Southern Local High School and replace Rich Watson, who has become principal of Southern Local Elementary. 
Watson has connections with education and industry and plans to bridge the two to help academy students find a place in the work force. 
He received his diploma from Wellsville High School in 2001 as well as degrees from Bismarck State University of North Dakota in 2007 and Grand Canyon University in Arizona in 2012. Watson also has a connection with Southern Local, since he worked there as a special education teacher from 2012-14. Watson then moved on to become a nuclear specialist at the Beaver Valley Power Station operated by FirstEnergy Corp. in Shippingport, Pa., where his job entailed creating lessons to instruct nuclear instrumentation and control technicians. 
Watson hopes to use his expertise in education and industry to prepare students for a future in energy and other fields.
Click right here to read more. 

Energy Transfer Considers $2.5 Billion Sale of Rover Pipeline Stake

From Bloomberg:
Energy Transfer LP, the U.S. pipeline giant controlled by billionaire Kelcy Warren, is weighing the sale of its 33% stake in a conduit that carries Appalachian natural gas to customers across the Midwest, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Dallas-based pipeline operator has hired an adviser to pursue a potential sale of its operated interest in the Rover pipeline, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public. The stake could fetch as much as $2.5 billion, one of the people said.

No decision has been made and Energy Transfer could opt not to sell, the people said. A representative for the company declined to comment. Energy Transfer rose 0.6% to close at $14.91 a share. 
Rover is 713 miles (1,148 kilometers) long and can shuttle 3.25 billion cubic feet of gas daily to customers across Ohio and Michigan, and as far away as Ontario. The project was originally expected to cost $4.2 billion and entered full service last year after a series of delays and construction missteps, including the bulldozing of a historic house in Ohio that the company had said it was buying for office space.
Read the entire article by clicking here. 

Restoration Work Continues for Pipeline Projects in Ohio; Legal Fights Continue as Well

From The Canton Repository:
“We have developed plans to mitigate the unusual rain conditions and we remain on schedule to complete final restoration activities by the fourth quarter of 2019,” Parker wrote. “Most restoration occurs within the first year following completion of construction. However, the process can take longer, depending on weather and other environmental impacts that may interrupt the restoration process.” 
Parker wrote that the goal was to restore the pipeline right-of-way to as close to pre-construction conditions as possible, and minimize long-term impacts. He encouraged landowners with questions about restoration to call the company’s toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 844-589-3655. 
As the restoration continues, so do several lawsuits filed by landowners in counties along the NEXUS route, including five cases in Stark County. 
The lawsuits allege NEXUS and its construction contractor, Michels Corp.:

  • Pumped or diverted water onto farms and residential properties without permission. 

  • Destroyed topsoil and crops on farms and failed to control erosion.

  • Failed to repair damaged drain tiles and properly reclaim land.

  • Caused farmers to lose crops and prevented some landowners from using their properties.

“The cases are preceding in court,” said Michael A. Thompson, attorney for the landowners. 
Rover Pipeline update 
The other major pipeline built recently in Stark County is the Rover Pipeline. Its twin 42-inch-diameter mainlines cross the county’s southern townships and transport up to 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. 
Texas-based Energy Transfer owns the 713-mile Rover system. 
Rover has completed restoration work in Stark County, but standard practice is to monitor the right-of-way for any issues, Energy Transfer spokeswoman Alexis Daniel wrote in an email. 
But the state’s lawsuit against Rover and its contractors is now underway in the 5th District Court of Appeals. 
The Ohio Attorney General sued in 2017 over alleged environmental violations in more than a dozen counties related to sediment-laden stormwater, leaks and spills of clay-based drilling fluid and the release of water used to pressure-test the pipeline.
Continue reading by clicking here. 

OOGA President Provides Latest Update on Utica Shale

From The Canton Repository:
The Ohio Oil & Gas Association held its annual summer meeting at Glenmoor Country Club earlier this week, and The Canton Repository caught up with OOGA President Steve Downey. 
Downey, EnerVest Operating’s vice president of business development, is a 32-year veteran of the industry. He is in the first of two years as OOGA president. Between golf sessions Tuesday, he kept an eye on the upcoming vote on the state budget bill that included OOGA supported provisions concerning drilling units and eliminating the $60 minimum severance tax and the $100 per well transfer fee. He also shared his thoughts on the following topics: 
The current state of the Utica Shale play and its future: 
“The Utica has done really well since its inception... We’re producing probably about 9 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day in Ohio now, somewhere in that neighborhood. It’s ramped up greatly... As prices have moved for (natural gas liquids) and dry gas, the areas have fluctuated just a little bit. Where’s the real drilling? It’s kind of jumped back and forth between the wet gas and the dry gas just depending on economics... 
“Some producers have the ability to go back and forth. Encino Energy – used to be Chesapeake Energy’s assets – they have both wet and dry gas, so they can shift as they see fit, to some degree. You have other companies that are strictly dry gas. ...I think the acreage positions are pretty well set now.”
Read on by clicking right here. 

Rice Brothers Win Battle for Control of EQT

Following a long and contentious fight for control of EQT, the Rice brothers have come out on top.

From an EQT press release:
EQT Corporation (NYSE:EQT) and the Rice Team jointly announced that, based on preliminary voting results at the EQT Annual Meeting today, shareholders have elected all seven Rice Team-nominated directors as well as the five nominees supported by both EQT and the Rice Team. All 12 elected directors received more than 80% of the votes cast at the Annual Meeting. 
After voting results are certified by the independent inspector of elections, expected later today, EQT’s reconstituted Board will be comprised of Lydia Beebe, Dr. Philip Behrman, Lee Canaan, Janet Carrig, Dr. Kathryn Jackson, John McCartney, James McManus II, Anita Powers, Daniel Rice IV, Toby Rice, Stephen Thorington, and Hallie Vanderhider. 
Following certification, the newly constituted Board will meet later today and is expected to name Toby Z. Rice as President and CEO, succeeding Robert McNally. 
Toby Rice said, “We are deeply gratified by the shareholder support for the Rice Team and our plan for EQT. The Company has a world class asset base which provides abundant opportunities for value-creation. Now is the time to put this proxy contest behind us and come together as one team to transform EQT into a technology-enabled, sustainable energy producer. There is a lot of work to be done, and we look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working closely with EQT’s talented employees to execute our plan. We are committed to a smooth transition and to realizing EQT’s full potential to create significant value for shareholders.” 
Robert McNally said, “I’d like to thank employees across the organization for their outstanding work and dedication to EQT as well as our directors for their counsel and dedication. EQT is a unique company with terrific assets, and I wish EQT and the Rice Team great success in the future.” 
The Board of EQT thanks Rob McNally for his service.
Click here to read the whole release.

The Pittsburgh Business Times reported on some of the changes coming for the company:
New EQT CEO Toby Z. Rice said the clock has started running on his team’s 100-day plan to begin the turnaround at the Pittsburgh-based natural gas driller, but disputed that it means a wholesale change of top executives. 
Rice spoke in the back of the second-floor conference room shortly after the annual meeting where he and 11 others supported by the Rice team during the nine-month proxy battle had been elected overwhelmingly by shareholders. The new board, with Toby Rice and his brother Daniel J. Rice IV, was to meet soon after the voting results were certified. But it was clear from the tone that Rice was on his way to becoming the CEO of EQT (NYSE: EQT), the largest independent natural gas driller in the country. 
Yet he gave no hint of a large-scale departure of EQT executives, which in the past two years has seen four CEOs as well as three separate heads of production and the departure of other executives with the November 2018 split into EQT and Equitrans Midstream Corp. (NYSE: ETRN), which is now a separate publicly traded company. He mentioned only replacing of the CEO and the general counsel, a position that itself was replaced in October 2017 in a move that also lead to the departure of the EVP of production. 
“That’s one misconception of this whole campaign, that we’re going to replace 15 executives,” Rice said.
Read that whole article by clicking here. 

Meanwhile, another article from the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that McNally will receive $3.4 million to go away, while Toby Rice will take a salary of $1.00 in his first year as the new CEO.  Click here to read that article (subscription required).

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Rig Count Drops Yet Again in Utica Shale

New permits issued last week: 3 (Previous week: 8)  -5
Total horizontal permits issued: 3120 (Previous week: 3117 +3
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2639 (Previous week: 2636)  +3
Total horizontal wells producing: 2225 (Previous week: 2223)  +2
Utica rig count: 17 (Previous week: 18)  -1

Why is There a DUC on Your Property?

From Farm and Dairy:
There are lots of reasons why a well may be drilled, but not finished and producing: The operator could be waiting for a pipeline to be connected, a crew to complete the fracking, or the markets to improve.
Or it could be a well drilled to hold a lease, or a test well, and never put into production. 
A drilled but uncompleted well (DUC) is a new well that has been drilled, but has not been fracked for the first time and put into production. There is also casing, cementing and other steps that need to be done before a well can start producing. 
Why track drilled but uncompleted DUC wells? They are a signal of overall economic health of the oil and gas producers, as well as future production potential.
Read the whole article, which explains more about the reasons behind DUC wells, by clicking here. 

Largest Grant in State History Will Help Prepare for Belmont County Cracker Plant

From The Columbus Dispatch:
The state’s economic development arm has awarded its largest grant ever for site work for a massive, multibillion-dollar petrochemical plant being considered in eastern Ohio. 
The $30 million JobsOhio grant is another in a series of steps being taken to determine whether Thai chemical company PTT Global Chemical America and its South Korean partner, Daelim Industrial Co., should proceed with the project in Belmont County. The company has committed $65 million to this phase, according to JobsOhio. 
If the companies go forward, they would build one of the largest economic development projects in state history, one with thousands of construction jobs and probably several hundred permanent jobs once construction is completed. 
“JobsOhio’s revitalization grant will support initial site-preparation work, which will begin later this month,” said Matt Englehart, JobsOhio spokesman. “While this is an important and positive step for the project, no final investment decision has been made. JobsOhio and our partners will continue closely collaborating with PTTGC America and Daelim as they work toward a final investment decision.”
Read more by clicking here. 

Mahoning County Strikes New Agreement in Hopes of Cashing in on Shale Drilling

From the Youngstown Vindicator:
Mahoning County now has rights to any Utica shale deposits underneath county-owned land in Canfield, under a new lease agreement with Ohio Valley Energy approved this morning. 
“Under the current old leases, the gas company actually has the rights all the way from the surface to the center of the earth,” said Tim Tusek, the assistant county prosecutor who worked on the arrangements. 
“The best part is there is a real possibility the Utica development will come back to this area, and when it does, the commissioners will be in a position to be able to benefit from it.” 
The existing wells run below about 270 acres west of the Canfield Fairgrounds, near the Mahoning County Experimental Farm operated in partnership with the Ohio State University Extension office there. Tusek said though the wells do bring in a “small” revenue source for the county and offer free gas for the adjacent properties. 
The wells were drilled about 30 years ago, but were sold to Ohio Valley Energy at the end of 2015, said company President Charlie Masters.
Click right here to read the rest of this article. 

Court Rules That Activist Effort to Deal Blow to FERC Can Proceed

From Law360:
The D.C. Circuit on Tuesday refused to dismiss Oberlin, Ohio’s challenge of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the $2.1 billion Nexus gas pipeline, even though the city has granted permanent pipeline easements to the pipeline’s developer. 
In a one-page per curiam order, Circuit Judges Judith W. Rogers, Sri Srinivasan and Robert L. Wilkins shot down Nexus’ bid to have the case tossed, apparently rejecting the pipeline company’s argument that the city and the Coalition to Reroute Nexus had lost standing to bring the case. 
Nexus had argued that the city executed a settlement agreement granting the pipeline company a permanent easement for its project on May 7, one day after oral arguments were held in the D.C. Circuit case. The settlement “vitiates” the city’s standing, Nexus said. 
Nexus acknowledged that the settlement agreement contained a provision that the deal had “no application” to the D.C. Circuit case, but the company argued that that “does not salvage the City’s standing in this action.”
Read more by clicking here. 

New Report Warns Turning Away From Oil & Natural Gas Will Cost United States $4.5 Trillion

by Elizabeth Caldwell, Energy in Depth

Removing oil and natural gas from the U.S. energy mix could have dire consequences, costing the country $4.5 trillion – or $35,000 per household – according to a new report from energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie:
“For any country to embrace a nationwide transition to 100 percent renewable energy (RE100) or zero carbon (ZC100) emissions constitutes a massive disruption with far-flung economic and social repercussions.”
As the report explains, in order to completely decarbonize by 2030:
“We estimate the cost of full decarbonisation of the US power grid at US$4.5 trillion, given the current state of technology. That’s nearly as much as what the country has spent, since 2001, on the war on terror. From a budgetary perspective, the cost is staggering at US$35,000 per household – nearly US$2,000 per year if assuming a 20-year plan.” (emphasis added)
This cost “includes everything needed to reliably produce and deliver clean energy to consumers”, which Wood Mackenzie estimates is about 1,600 gigawatts (GW) of new wind and solar capacity, and an additional 900 GW of storage capacity. For perspective, current wind and solar capacity is about 130 GW of the roughly 1,060 GW that make up the U.S. power grid’s nameplate capacity. Worldwide there is about 5.5 GW of storage capacity operational or under construction, according to the report. The estimate does not include additional supply chain costs that could result from the increased demand for things like steel and construction equipment.
Wood Mackenzie notes this would be an unprecedented shift:
“Today, no large and complex power system (LCPS) in the world operates with an average annual penetration of greater than 30% wind and solar (W+S). RE100 policies for an LCPS represent uncharted territory. There is little to no historical precedence for dealing with the technological and commercial disruptions that would accompany the mass deployment of variable energy resources.
“Current evidence shows that an LCPS tends to reach a 25% W+S market penetration with relative ease, assuming fundamental natural resource and grid infrastructure prerequisites. Beyond that point, operational and cost complexities progressively multiply, in large part due to the intermittent nature of renewables.” (emphasis added)
Aside from the abundance and low cost of natural gas, its ability to ramp up or down very quickly has made it popular for power generation. Without substantial battery storage, natural gas serves as an important back-up fuel for renewables because solar and wind power experience off-times and seasonal variation, as well as curtailments due to lack of storage capacity, which the report says happens almost daily in California.
As Energy Information Administration analyst Dr. Kathryn Dyl explained this year, natural gas has played an important role in ensuring grid reliability:
“That build-out of natural gas generation capacity on the grid led to the retirement of several coal generators, but also in many ways enabled the growth of renewables, because renewables — particularly wind and solar power — are intermittent or non-dispatchable resources. They only operate at certain times of the day or under certain circumstances and it’s really beneficial to be able to have complementary generation to be able to respond to that.”

Lower cost solutions

Wood Mackenzie is not calling for a halt to increasing the U.S. renewable power generation capacity. Instead it acknowledges the complexity of the issue and offers a few more realistic suggestions than what has been called for by those supporting 100-percent renewable power by 2030, which ultimately would “require more capacity to be built every single year over the next 11 years than what has been installed collectively over the past two decades.”
The first two suggestions include slowing down to allow for technologies to be developed that could lower these costs and to give a more realistic time-frame. The last two are to include other fuel sources, namely nuclear and natural gas. In fact, the report finds that by including natural gas in the energy mix, the cost reductions are pretty substantial:
“Allowing 20 percent of the power mix to come from existing natural-gas-fired generation (ZC80) would reduce RE costs by roughly 20 percent and energy storage costs by at least 60 percent.” (emphasis added)
Natural gas helped the United States lower greenhouse gas emissions almost 73 percent from 1970 to 2017, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The United States has also been a world leader in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, with the EIA attributing the accomplishment largely to the increased use of natural gas in power generation.
Wood Mackenzie’s report, and the consensus from governmental agencies is clear: natural gas provides a strong path to reach our climate goals.

July 2019 Utica and Marcellus Shale Activity Maps

The ODNR has released the Utica and Marcellus shale activity maps for July.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Permitting Picks Back Up a Little in Utica Shale

New permits issued last week: 8 (Previous week: 1)  +7
Total horizontal permits issued: 3117 (Previous week: 3113 +4
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2636 (Previous week: 2630)  +6
Total horizontal wells producing: 2223 (Previous week: 2222)  +1
Utica rig count: 18 (Previous week: 19)  -1

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Former EQT CEO Says Shale Producers Are Killing Themselves

From S&P Global:
The shale gas revolution is over and Appalachia's top producers need to radically change their behavior if they want to survive, according to former EQT Corp. CEO Steve Schlotterbeck. 
"The biggest problem facing the upstream industry, frankly, is the industry itself," said Schlotterbeck, who created the nation's largest natural gas producer by volume with the merger of EQT and neighbor Rice Energy in November 2017. "The shale gas revolution has been an unmitigated disaster for any buy and hold investor." 
Speaking at Petroleum Update's 2019 Northeast Petrochemical Conference in Pittsburgh, Schlotterbeck said upstream producers must change their orientation away from production growth that has swamped the market to delivering yield for their investors. Slashing drilling efforts to the bare bones while paying a healthy dividend with free cash is the path forward, he said. 
"The industry is self-destructing from the success of the shale gas technologies," said Schlotterbeck, now working as a special partner for energy at M&A advisory firm Stone Pier Capital Advisors LP. "They continue to believe that volume growth is necessary for them to be successful, although we now have several years of data that demonstrates the opposite."
Read more by clicking here. 

Error-Ridden Study Links Fracking to Higher Radon Levels in Ohio

From the Athens News:
A new academic study linking the amount of radon present in a home to its proximity to deep-shale oil and gas “fracking” wells cites Athens County as having the most of these wells in the state of Ohio, with 108.

There’s one problem with that statistic: Athens County does not have 108 deep-shale fracking wells. In fact, it has zero. The number of horizontally drilled fracking wells in some eastern Ohio counties shown on a map that’s part of the study also appears to be incorrect.

Mark Bruce, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas Resource Management, said Friday that the agency is working with the University of Toledo researchers who performed the radon/fracking study “to get their numbers right.”

It's unclear whether correcting the numbers of deep-shale fracking wells in the study will alter the conclusions of the study.
Click here to read more.

This study has been widely publicized on the internet, although the drastic errors it contains in listing what is basic, publicly available information the number of wells in various counties has not been reported as much.  It's obviously difficult to put much stock in the conclusions of the study when those behind it make such thoughtless mistakes, especially when the conclusions are all about proximity to shale wells.  If their numbers on wells are wildly inaccurate, then how accurate is the information they are using and providing regarding where the wells are located in relation to the locations that the radon data was sampled?

As the study abstract notes, the methodology of the information-gathering also calls into question the study's accuracy and impartiality, as all numbers were self-reported and subject to response bias.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Only One Permit Issued in Ohio's Utica Shale Last Week

New permits issued last week: 1 (Previous week: 7)  -6
Total horizontal permits issued: 3113 (Previous week: 3113 +-0
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2630 (Previous week: 2626)  +4
Total horizontal wells producing: 2222 (Previous week: 2222)  +-0
Utica rig count: 19 (Previous week: 18)  +1

Monday, June 24, 2019

Ascent Resources is Loving Life in the Utica Shale

From Kallanish Energy:
Like comedian Rodney Dangerfield, the Utica Shale gets no respect, and that’s wrong because the Utica is “really a phenomenal reservoir,” according to Jeff A. Fisher, CEO of Ascent Resources. 
The Utica play, primarily in eastern Ohio, is “still a bit misunderstood” and often overlooked, Fisher told an audience of roughly 600 Wednesday at Hart Energy’s 11th annual DUG East Conference and Exhibition in this Pennsylvania city. Kallanish Energy was in attendance. 
“This play really shines. The rock really performs,” he said. 
Defending the Utica’s ‘robustness’ 
There is no champion speaking out in defense of the Utica Shale and that’s unfortunate, he said before proceeding to defend the Utica and what he called its “robustness.” 
It produces dry natural gas, wet natural gas, natural gas liquids and condensate, depending on where in the Utica Shale you are drilling, Fisher said. His company has drilled 400 Utica wells and is the eighth-largest natural gas producer in the U.S.
Continue reading by clicking here. 

Bechtel Makes Public Statement Confirming Selection as Cracker Plant Project Manager

From the Pittsburgh Business Times:
Bechtel, the project manager for the massive Shell Chemicals plant under construction in Beaver County, is going to be the project manager for a similar project in Ohio if it is built. 
The news was confirmed Thursday in a presentation at the Northeast Petrochemical Exhibition and Conference by Paul Marsden, SVP of Bechtel'sunit in Pennsylvania. Bechtel is working along with Samsung on the project, Marsden said. But, he said, it depends on PTT Global Chemicals making a final investment decision on the project that has been expected for years. 
The Thai-based PTT Global Chemicals has been in the initial stages of a petrochemical plant on the banks of the Ohio River, about 60 miles south of Pittsburgh, in Belmont County, Ohio. PTT has been working on the project for years, and enlisted another company, South Korea-based Daelin, to help. But no final investment decision has been made. A spokesman for PTT in Ohio wasn't immediately available for comment. 
Bechtel had been rumored to be in the mix for general contractor for the project, as it is for the multibilliondollar Shell plant. The general contractor works with dozens of subcontractors and thousands of employees to make sure that everything goes as designed and planned. The agreement between Bechtel and PTT Global Chemical was reached earlier this year, Marsden said.
Read more by clicking here. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Congressman Bill Johnson Again Expresses Optimism Towards Belmont County Cracker Plant Being Built

From The Times Leader:
It was a full house at the JobsOhio’s public board meeting on Monday afternoon at the Ohio Mine Safety Training Center in Harrison County.

JobsOhio is a private nonprofit corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction and retention and expansion efforts. Numerous elected officials, department heads and seven of the nine JobsOhio board members were present at the meeting. 
Bob Smith, chairman of the board, began the meeting and thanked all who were in attendance. He then introduced Congressman Bill Johnson. 
Johnson, R-Ohio, discussed the actions of President Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War in reference to Ohio’s leadership skills. 
“So you’ve got the secretary of treasury, the commander in chief of the Army, and the two most prolific fighter generals that Lincoln could find, all from Ohio. You think about where we might have been, as a nation, if Lincoln had not surrounded himself with that group of Ohio leadership … ,” Johnson said. “The partnership that exists between APEG and JobsOhio, I can’t think of another state that is doing it the way we’re doing it here in Ohio and it is paying big big dividends.” 
Since January 2011 through this year, more than $70 billion of investment has come in to this region, he said. He added that 32 percent of the nation’s natural gas demand comes from this region and by 2050 it is estimated to be as much as 50 percent. 
“There is such a wealth of resources right here in our region. … I think there’s a lot of reasons to be optimistic about where we are, pride in where we’ve come from, and a lot of excitement about where we’re going,” he said. 
He said proposed the PTT Global Chemical-Dealim ethane cracker plant is in the final financing phase and that the developers have invested around $70 million in pre-construction and site preparation work. 
“Companies don’t put that kind of money into a no-go operation, folks. I’m telling you that we’re heading in the right direction,” he said.
Click here to read more. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Utica Rig Count Down for the Second Straight Week

New permits issued last week: 7 (Previous week: 11)  -4
Total horizontal permits issued: 3113 (Previous week: 3106 +7
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2626 (Previous week: 2613)  +13
Total horizontal wells producing: 2222 (Previous week: 2222)  +-0
Utica rig count: 18 (Previous week: 19)  -1

Friday, June 14, 2019

Risberg Pipeline Construction Enters Ohio

From the Star Beacon:
Construction on the Risberg natural gas pipeline has started in Ohio, near the state line. 
Pipe segments lined an area of clear ground south of Interstate 90 Wednesday, marking the path of the Risberg Pipeline. Construction started at the end of another pipeline in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and work has now entered Ohio, as the $86 million pipeline is getting closer and closer to it's end-point in North Kingsville. 
The pipeline includes 16 miles of new pipeline in Pennsylvania and 12 miles of new pipeline in Ohio.

"I don't think it's possible to overstate the need (for natural gas)," Conneaut City Manager Jim Hockaday said. 
Growth Partnership Executive Director Greg Myers has said in the past that the county has lost out on investment and job opportunities because of lack of access to natural gas. 
Work on the project started in March, with crews clearing land along the pipeline's path. At the time, the project was expected to finish in early summer, with some help from the weather.
Click here to keep on reading. 

President Trump Targeting Appalachian Basin for Energy Development

From the Washington Examiner:
The Trump administration’s battle for new energy infrastructure will center on Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania this summer, as members of the president’s cabinet work with state regulators to build the country’s first natural gas and petrochemical hub in Appalachia. 
Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told John that he and others from the Energy Department, Transportation Department and other agencies have been charged by the president to produce a plan to overcome the regulatory hurdles to get the project off the ground. 
Meetings in the three shale-producing states are ongoing, with Kentucky — not a natural gas producer — also part of the conversation. Kentucky is seen as a major part of the logistics chain that will be needed to convert Appalachia into a thriving center for petrochemicals and energy exports along the Ohio River. 
Assistant Secretary Mark Menezeswill be sitting down with Ohio regulators in the next few days to discuss the hurdles to building a major hub. Pipeline capacity would also need to be improved in the region.
Read on by clicking right here. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Utica Rig Count Drops Back Below 20 on Latest Report

WEEK ENDING 06/08/2019

New permits issued last week: 11 (Previous week: 4)  +7
Total horizontal permits issued: 3106 (Previous week: 3097 +9
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2613 (Previous week: 2608)  +5
Total horizontal wells producing: 2222 (Previous week: 2223)  -1
Utica rig count: 19 (Previous week: 21)  -2

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Anti-Fracking Researcher Quietly Admits: Studies Show No Harmful Pollutants Near Oil And Gas Sites

by Nicole Jacobs, Energy in Depth

The activist who wrote a 2012 memo encouraging anti-fracking groups to connect health problems and fracking even when no evidence existed to support the claims recently co-authored a report admitting that the vast majority of scientific research shows no harmful air pollutants near oil and natural gas sites. As the report explains,
“Air pollution near oil and gas production typically measures in concentrations within healthy air standards…”
Activist researcher and executive director of the openly anti-fracking Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSEHE) Seth Shonkoff and his co-authors analyzed 37 peer-reviewed journal articles on hazardous air pollutants from 2012 to 2018, finding:
“[M]easurements of hazardous air pollutant concentrations near operational sites have generally failed to capture levels above standard health benchmarks; yet, the majority of studies continue to find poor health outcomes increasing as distance from these operations decreases.” (emphasis added)
Notably, where they found research that did capture traces of emissions in ambient air, the research team also conceded that oil and natural gas [ONG] is not the only potential source for these emissions, if it’s actually even the source at all:
“Many of the peer-reviewed studies investigated a broad range of target analytes in ambient air, several of which are ubiquitous in the environment and are sourced not only in upstream ONG operations. … The abundance of formaldehyde detection in ambient collected samples may actually indicate secondary atmospheric formation as the dominant source and not primary emissions released directly from an ONG point source.” (emphasis added)
Shonkoff doesn’t let facts get in the way of his “Keep It In the Ground” agenda.
But the report wasn’t actually about admitting that oil and natural gas sites aren’t emitting harmful pollutants. Instead, Shonkoff’s team sought to explain the disparity between epidemiological studies that claim proximity to well sites increases health risks – the same types of studies that Shonkoff encouraged in his 2012 memo – and this large volume of research that shows the lack of emissions to make those claims stick.
From the report:
“Despite findings of a spatial dimension of health data near upstream ONG development, measured pollutant concentrations, including concentrations of HAPs, were generally below health-based standards. It is unclear why ambient air samples have failed to capture concentrations above health benchmarks while the majority of epidemiological studies continue to find incidence of poor health outcomes increasing as distance from these operations decreases.”
Despite admitting that “it is unclear why ambient samples have failed to capture concentrations above health-based standards,” Shonkoff and his co-authors claim that “methodological shortcomings” in the emissions studies are at fault for these disparities between the studies. This finding is unsurprising given that Shonkoff emphasized in his 2012 memo that epidemiological health studies labeling oil and natural gas as a threat are “crucial to the engagement in litigious battles, to drive regulation, and to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for their actions.”
The likely motivation for such a report stems from a 2017 decision by the Mount Pleasant Zoning Board in Pennsylvania that rejected Shonkoff as an expert witness after finding his testimony that fracking is harmful to public health “to be equivocal, not properly founded, and not credible.” The ruling was based on the grounds that, among other things, he ignored numerous air emissions studies that found no elevated risks in his testimony.
And while Shonkoff will now be armed with the ability to cite himself should a similar line of questioning arise when he’s giving future presentations or testifying, it doesn’t change the fact that the epidemiological research Shonkoff misleadingly touts does not align with air quality studies of oil and natural gas well sites. But at least “Keep It In the Ground” activists now have to admit that to be the case.

Construction Begins on Gas-Fired Power Plant in Monroe County

From The Herald Star:
Before it closed in 2013, the Ormet Aluminum Corp. in Monroe County used the same amount of power in a day that the entire city of Pittsburgh did.

“And that was 540 megawatts of power we were using,” explained Robert Cox, general manager of the Long Ridge Energy Terminal, on the former Ormet site. 
On Thursday, the terminal at 43840 state Route 7, north of Hannibal, hosted those representing local, state and national partners at the site to break ground for a new 485-megawatt natural gas power plant estimated to be complete in two and a half years. 
Cox has been on the site managing operations for 30 years and saw the Ormet plant at its peak production capacity until its closing in 2013. 
“That closure really impacted the local economy, it took a hit,” noted Ed Looman, project manager of the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth. 
The facility closed due to high utility costs after the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio did not grant rate relief the company said it needed for electricity.
Click here to continue reading. 

Ohio House Approves Bill Requiring Ohio Electric Customers to Bail Out FirstEnergy Coal and Nuclear Plants

From Kallanish Energy:
The Ohio House of Representatives has approved a sweeping energy bill that boosts financial support for two struggling nuclear power plants and two coal-fired power plants, while gutting programs promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, Kallanish Energy reports. 
The much-watched, much-debated bill was approved by a 53-43 vote. 
House Bill 6 would raise $200 million a year by imposing a new fee on all Ohio residential electric customers to support FirstEnergy Solutions, the owner of the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear power plants in northern Ohio. 
That would amount of nearly $1.3 billion over the six years the legislation is slated to last, ending in 2027. Without the additional money from customers ($1 per customer), the plants will close within two years, said the company, which is spinning off from Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. 
The bill would erase Ohio’s clean-energy mandates that had been adopted in 2008. Under that plan, Ohio utilities were required to produce 12.5% of their energy from renewable sources by 2027. That is backed by a $4.39 per month fee paid by Ohio electricity customers.
You can read more by clicking here. 

FirstEnergy Corp. reported earnings of $981 million last year.

Activists Going After Export Pipelines in Hopes of Stopping Future Development

From the Houston Chronicle:
With growing volumes of natural gas from Texas and the rest of the United States sold abroad, developers are rushing to build new pipelines connecting oil and gas fields with border crossings and shipping ports. 
But a growing number of landowners and environmentalists are fighting those projects at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and in federal courts, challenging the notion that pipeline projects carrying gas destined for export are entitled to the same privileges granted infrastructure projects serving American customers. 
Under federal law, pipeline developers can seize land for construction as long as the project is deemed in “the public interest.” In the D.C Circuit Court of Appeals, the city of Oberlin, Ohio is challenging FERC’s 2017 approval of a 275-mile pipeline moving Appalachian natural gas to Michigan through their city, arguing in part FERC erred because a substantial portion of the gas will be exported to Canada.
Click here to read more. 

New Research Paper Says Fracking Saved Over 60,000 American Lives Over 6-Winter Period

From the Orange County Register:
Fracking helped save the lives of roughly 11,000 Americans each winter from 2005 to 2010, according to a recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper. 
How? By driving down energy prices and helping them affordably heat their homes. 
Demographers have long observed that low-income people die at higher rates during the winter months. This “excess winter mortality” has a simple, heartbreaking cause — people keep their dwellings uncomfortably cold to reduce their heating bills. Constant exposure to chilly temperatures makes it more likely that people will contract and succumb to respiratory and heart disease. 
Many low-income Americans also skimp on food and health care to afford their heating bills. Thirty-one percent of households struggle to pay energy bills. About 17 percent of U.S. households spend more than 10 percent of their total income on energy costs, mostly on heating.
Read on by clicking here. 

Utica Rig Count Jumps Over 20 on Latest Weekly ODNR Report

WEEK ENDING 06/01/2019

New permits issued last week: 4 (Previous week: 17)  -13
Total horizontal permits issued: 3097 (Previous week: 3093 +4
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2608 (Previous week: 2601)  +7
Total horizontal wells producing: 2223 (Previous week: 2186)  +37
Utica rig count: 21 (Previous week: 16)  +5

ODNR Publishes June 2019 Shale Activity Maps

ODNR Releases First Quarter 2019 Utica Shale Production Figures

From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:
During the first quarter of 2019, Ohio’s horizontal shale wells produced 5,073,536 barrels of oil and 609,452,391 Mcf (609 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, according to figures released today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. 
Natural gas production from the first quarter of 2019 showed a 14.57 percent increase over the first quarter of 2018, while oil production increased 28.69 percent for the same period. 
 2018 Quarter 1 (Shale)2019 Quarter 1 (Shale)Percentage Change
Barrels of oil3,942,329 bbl5,073,536 bbl28.69%
Mcf of natural gas531,954,017 Mcf609,452,391 Mcf14.57%

The ODNR quarterly report lists 2,277 horizontal shale wells, 2,228 of which reported oil and natural gas production during the quarter. Of the wells reporting oil and natural gas results: 
  • The average amount of oil produced was 2,277 barrels.
  • The average amount of natural gas produced was 273,542 Mcf.
  • The average number of first quarter days in production was 86.
Click here to view the entire production report.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Permitting Picks Up in Utica Shale as Rig Count Drops

WEEK ENDING 05/25/2019

New permits issued last week: 17 (Previous week: 2)  +15
Total horizontal permits issued: 3093 (Previous week: 3080 +13
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2601 (Previous week: 2600)  +1
Total horizontal wells producing: 2186 (Previous week: 2186)  +-0
Utica rig count: 16 (Previous week: 18)  -2